Dizziness is a feeling that you are unsteady on your feet, lightheaded, woozy or even faint. It can even lead to the sensation that either your head or everything around you is spinning, which is also known as vertigo. Dizzy spells are common but usually not serious.
Depending on the person, dizziness can be described with a variety of sensations. The symptoms are generally as follows:
• A feeling of lightheadedness or feeling faint
• Feeling unsteady or off balance
• The sensation of floating, feeling woozy or even heavy-headed
• The sensation of spinning, such as vertigo
Sometimes, your symptoms might feel worse when you stand up, walk, move your head or even when you are lying down. Bouts of dizziness can last mere seconds or for a few days and disappear but recur after several days or weeks.
There are several potential causes of dizziness. In many cases, the way you feel during dizzy spells can indicate the specific cause of it. You can note the symptoms and length of time you experience them if you have to see a doctor at some point. The following are dizziness causes:
• Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): BPPV commonly causes dizziness. It occurs when crystals in the inner ear become out of place and leads to vertigo when you move your head.
• Vestibular neuritis: This is a viral infection of the vestibular nerve, which can cause severe vertigo.
• Meniere’s disease: Meniere’s disease occurs when there is a large buildup of fluid in the inner ear. It can cause dizziness, distorted hearing and tinnitus.
• Migraines: Migraines can lead to a sensation of dizziness. They are often accompanied by a sensitivity to light and sound.
• Low blood pressure: Low blood pressure can make you feel faint or lightheaded.
• Poor blood circulation: When your blood circulation is poor, it can also cause dizziness.
• Low blood sugar: Low blood sugar associated with diabetes and hypoglycemia can cause dizziness.
• Neurological conditions: Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions can cause dizziness and feeling unbalanced.
• Dehydration: If you aren’t drinking enough fluids, especially in very hot weather, you can become dizzy.
Your doctor may schedule you for an MRI if you’re older or they suspect a stroke or blow to the head. Initially, however, the doctor will ask about your symptoms and examine you. They may also test your balance. If the doctor believes your dizziness is related to BPPV, they will prescribe hearing and balance tests with an audiologist who specializes in such testing.
Usually, dizziness clears up without treatment. However, depending on your situation, you may be prescribed certain medications that can relieve your dizziness. For example, if your symptoms come from migraines, you may be prescribed migraine medication, but if you have Meniere’s disease, you may be prescribed water pills to relieve your symptoms.
Another common treatment for dizziness involves physical therapy exercises if you suffer from vestibular neuritis or BPPV. Psychotherapy is an option for individuals who have dizziness caused by an anxiety disorder.